by Michael N. Jagessar
Past moderator of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church, the Revd John Marsh, sums up our recently held Multicultural Celebration (September 28th) with these words: “What a vivid and vibrant Church we are! What a living and lively foretaste of the Kingdom of God we demonstrate! How totally we smother despair with unrestrained Christian hope and Gospel joy in a marvellous rainbow glory.”
Indeed! Welcome to the brave new world of the changing face of our Church. Whether we believe it or not or care to note it, we are a gifted community and there are more storylines to share other than that of despair or the one we have grown accustomed to share! For what URC wide gathering (besides General Assembly) can pull a crowd of over 425 of us in celebration of our life together? And it was a diverse crowd in a broad sense from a diverse church: culture, geographical location, theological outlook, gender, generational, ability, and church ethos
Those who were gathered at Carrs Lane URC (from 10.00 am to 3.30 pm) had a delightful time together of worship, music, singing, dancing, drama, story-telling, community singing, keynoting through conversations, hearing exciting stories from congregations, viewing the art submissions for our multicultural art award, hearing local folk music and musicians in concert, feasting around a sumptuous meal, and meeting old friends and making new ones.
As I attended the day both as a moderator of GA and Secretary for Racial Justice and Intercultural Ministry, it allowed me to share the impressions of some of those who were present at the event. One colleague said: “I enjoyed what I was able to stay for… It was good to see friends and meet new people too. I thought the event was well organised…there were lots to celebrate – and across cultures too …” Another (who is not a member of the URC) shared this with me: “Well what a wonderful event! Words such as, joyous, inspiring, loving, exciting, fun, fellowship and sharing spring to my mind. Thank you for letting me be part of it.” And another participant had this to say: “What a wonderful day! It was entertaining, inspiring and uplifting. We have a wealth of talent in the United Reformed Church which showed itself through song, dance, art, drama and story. For me it demonstrated once again that in our church there is life, joy and abundance. We are not done yet! And, let me end with the words of a synod moderator: “It was a living expression – very much alive with the richness of diversity that makes multi-cultural experiences so powerful I really felt the anointing of the Spirit on the whole day.” To God be the glory!